Coming off an emotional win against the Toronto Maple Leafs, coach Michel Therrien knew Monday’s game against the New Jersey Devils would be a demanding one mentally for the Canadiens.
“For our team that was a really tough game to play,” Therrien said after the Habs 3-2 victory at the Bell Centre over the Devils.
“It was tough to get involved in the game,” Therrien said. “I’d like to give a lot of credit to the Devils, I thought they played a really good hockey game.”
But Canadiens goaltender Carey Price was outstanding, Therrien added, and “gave us a chance obviously to steal that game.”
“Mentally for us it was a tough game to play. And the good thing is we find a way to win. And this is what I appreciate tonight…I knew it was going to be really demanding mentally to play that game.”
The Canadiens were outshot 30-17 and only managed five shots on goal in the first period. But they managed to eek out a victory with goals by Rene Bourque, Max Pacioretty and Alex Galchenyuk along with a few impressive crease-clearing efforts by defenceman P.K. Subban that prevented at least one goal.
“He’s playing his best hockey,” Therrien said of Subban, who won the Norris Trophy last season as the National Hockey League’s top defenceman.
David Desharnais collected two assists, including a pretty backhand feed to Bourque on his goal.
“He’s making some good plays,” Therrien said of Desharnais. “But for me, he battled to the puck. He’s strong on the puck. If there’s a loose puck he wants to be first on the puck and he makes good decisions.
Pacioretty scored his team-leading 10th goal. Galchenyuk, who was benched during the third period of Saturday’s game against the Leafs, scored the game-winning goal in the third period and narrowly missed an empty-netter in the dying seconds of the game, hitting the post.
The Canadiens have now won six of their last seven games, a stretch in which they also picked up a point in their shootout loss last Friday to the Washington Capitals.
You can watch what Subban had to say after the game here:
And you can listen to Galchenyuk here:
And you can listen to Pacioretty here:
(Video: Brenda Branswell)